Athletics

Angels catcher Francisco Arcia makes MLB history in 21-3 loss to A's

Angels catcher Francisco Arcia makes MLB history in 21-3 loss to A's

Position players pitching has become all the rage in Major League Baseball this season.

Some find it fun and quirky. Some think managers have taken it too far, using position players early in blowouts rather than at the end.

Where ever you stand on the tactic, you should be able to appreciate what Angels catcher Francisco Arcia did on Thursday in Oakland.

For the first six innings of the game, Arcia was in the squat, catching six different Angels pitchers. But after those six innings, the A's led the Angels 18-2, so manager Mike Scioscia decided to save one of unlimited relief pitchers (oh hey September roster expansion) and put Arcia on the mound.

Arcia got the first two outs of the seventh, but then give up a single to A's catcher Josh Phegley, a two-run homer to left fielder Nick Martini and another homer to third baseman Chad Pinder. Arcia would go on to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

Then things got really weird in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs and the A's up 21-2, Arcia hit a solo home run off A's reliever Chris Hatcher. If you go back and watch the replay of the home run closely, you can actually see Arcia laughing as he's rounding the bases.

Why is this news? Because Arcia is the first player in the modern era of MLB to catch, pitch and homer in the same game.

So, for those fans that stuck around the Coliseum to watch the end of a bloodbath, they got to see something that has never happened in MLB history. Congrats to them. Hang on to that ticket. They still make tickets, right?

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Josh Phegley

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USATSI

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Josh Phegley

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Josh Phegley served as the A's backup catcher in 2018, slashing .204/.255/.344 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 93 at-bats. Oakland performed extremely well with him in the lineup, going 20-7 in games he started.

Phegley, 30, is a career .223 hitter in six big-league seasons. His best year came in 2015 when he notched a career-high nine homers and 34 RBI in 73 games. 

Phegley earned $905K last season and is projected to get $1.2 million in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

Phegley has proven to be a reliable backup catcher. He is solid defensively and can handle himself at the plate as well. He is also well-liked by his teammates, and knows how to manage Oakland's pitching staff.

Even if the A's re-sign starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Phegley could provide a nice insurance policy.

Why he might be too pricey

The projected number of $1.2 million could be a bit high for a backup catcher, especially with Beau Taylor in the mix for less money, and prospect Sean Murphy tearing it up in the minor leagues. If the A's do re-sign Lucroy, Phegley could become expendable.

Verdict

Phegley has done everything asked of him over the past four seasons in Oakland, but $1.2 million seems a bit high for a backup catcher, especially when Taylor would cost less than half that.

Murphy, who just turned 24, slashed.288/.358/.498 in 68 games with Double-A Midland last season and figures to be the A's catcher of the future. With both Taylor and Murphy in the mix, Oakland can probably afford to let Phegley go at that price tag.     

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Dull

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USATSI

Evaluating A's arbitration in 2018 MLB offseason: Ryan Dull

(Over the next week, we will be examining each of the A's arbitration-eligible players to determine whether they will return in 2019.)

Ryan Dull split the 2018 season between Oakland and Triple-A Nashville. At the major league level, Dull made 28 appearances with a 4.26 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, with 21 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.

In his four-year MLB career, the 29-year-old right-hander is 8-9 with a 3.63 ERA. Dull earned $555K last season and is projected to get $900K in arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Why he might be a bargain

For just $900,000, Dull is certainly worth a look. His career numbers are solid, though he struggled at times over the past two seasons.

Dull likely won't be anything more than a depth reliever, but his arbitration projection is so low that the A's should at least consider bringing him back.

Why he might be too pricey

While Dull's numbers weren't terrible in 2018, he struggled to find his footing at the Major League level. He also had a rough time in 2017, going 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA and 1.26 WHIP.

Oakland has plenty of depth in the bullpen and there's a good chance Dull would spend much of 2019 in Triple-A.

Verdict

With all of the A's great young relief pitchers, Dull seems unlikely to return next season. Oakland has not been able to rely on him in big situations the past couple of seasons, and at 29 years old, his performance doesn't figure to drastically improve.

Even though Dull is only projected to get $900K, the A's could use that money to help keep other players around next season.